Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Day in Russia

On our recent trip around the Baltic, we spent a day in Russia. St Petersburg and the nearby area of Pushkin. The weather was dreadful, wet and rainy. We visited lots of landmarks, but in the end, everyone felt this was our least favorite stop. We all remarked later that we felt rushed in our tour of the city, sometimes taking photos on the fly.
Still, so glad to have done it.

Here are a few shots in the Peter and Paul Fortress where multiple Russian Tsars are buried...

Here's St. Isaacs Cathdral, where a variety of mosaic techniques and iconostasis are displayed.
This was an impressive place, to say the least. And, dry, for our few minutes outside of the rain.

Palace Square and Alexander Column, a monument  to the Russian military after victory in war with Napolean's France...
Out in Pushkin, we visited Catherine's Palace, which was almost totally destroyed in WWII but has since been rebuilt and restored. This place was packed. Jammed from side to side, corner to corner with people and consequently, difficult to keep track of the kids throughout. After having been through so many palaces and castles around Europe, it felt like a trouist trap to me. For the Russians though, no doubt, it's an important histoircal place and valued landmark. 

Love how this kid keeps on smiling despite the rain...
We had to wear these silly shoe protectors. In reality, we believe this was just their way of getting the floors cleaned for free.

 Meet Victoria- our tour guide. The photo is blurry in purpose. I don't want the KGB coming after me.
Seriously though, let me just get this off of my chest. Russian women were just naturally incredibly beautiful, but seemed to carry a nasty chip on their shoulder. Every chick we passed was quite attractive, (and I'm being serious here...no I'm not gay). But no one smiled. No one. At all. They truly seemed more content to frown.
Victoria here was often in this very stance...hand on hip, frown on face, tour sign in the air.

Anyway,...on with the tour. We're group number 5 people. Keep it movin.

So, on to the Hermitage. If you ever find yourself in St Peterburg Russia, DO NOT miss this place.This was a highlight. This museum, sitting on the bank of the Neva River boasts baroque arcitechture in a green and white 3 story palace, once a main residence for Russian Tsars.

Look out, cause group 53 and 48 are going to plow us over...
forward march...
 Everywhere we looked there seemed to be a bride....
Good to see somebody was optomistic.

The largest art gallery in Russia, we had the chance to (quickly) meet works by Degas, Renoir, da Vinci, Monet, Van Gogh, Cezaane, Gaugin, Raphael, and more... 

This place was founded as a museum by Catherine the Great when she began a collection with an inital purchase of paintings from Berlin.
Catherine the Great had great tatse.
Too bad we didn't have more time in the Hermitage. Such a shame.

We were wined and dined at lunch, with caviar, champagne, and of course, vodka. Though regretably there are no photos from that scene, as the tour guide was eventually standing over the table rushing the meal along too.

 It took me several passes on the bus to get this ad....too bad we couldn't have stuck around for her show.
Next time Brittany. Enjoy Russia girl.

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